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In their analysis, researchers adjusted for age, sex, race, income and cardiovascular risk to separate the effects from alcohol consumption from other factors with known links to hypertension.
Aladin said the study's large sample size likely helps explain why the findings appear to contrast with previous studies in this area.
The pattern among heavy drinkers was even more pronounced; relative to those who never drank, heavy drinkers were 69 percent more likely to have stage 1 hypertension and 2.4 times as likely to have stage 2 hypertension.
Overall, the average blood pressure was about 109/67 mm Hg among never-drinkers, 128/79 mm Hg among moderate drinkers and 153/82 mm Hg among heavy drinkers.
They assessed hypertension according to the 2017 ACC/AHA high blood pressure guideline, which defined Stage 1 hypertension as having systolic blood pressure between 130-139 or diastolic pressure between 80-89, and Stage 2 hypertension as having systolic pressure above 140 or diastolic pressure above 90.